Matt's Corner: how to tie a string leech

Front Hook - Long shank streamer hook. Straight eye is best.
Trailer Hook - Daiichi 2553 (red), Gamakatsu 02109-25, or equivalent. Size 2. Bigger that 2 for really big fish like salmon and steelhead over 10 pounds.
Other - Lead, beads, rabbit strips, dubbing, angel hair or other flash
String - Tuffline XP, 65 pound test fishing line

Follow the pics…

  1. Install bead and heavy lead on front half of hook.
  2. Lash down lead and cover shank of hook with a thread base.
  3. Tie in trailer hook setup to desired length.
  4. Fold tags of Tuffline back and last them down.
  5. Fold tags of Tuffline forward again and lash down.
  6. Trim extra Tuffline tags.
  7. Tie in rabbit strip for the tail. A Magnum Zonker strip (wider than usual) is a good choice.
  8. Tie in another strip of rabbit for the body. You do not need cross cut strips if you follow these tips. Tie in the rabbit with the fur facing the opposite way that the tail fur strip is going (fur side of the leather against the hook shank, and fur tips facing forward on the fly).
  9. Dub the body heavily with some long-stranded, sparkly dubbing.
  10. Leave a space behind the bead with no dubbing.
  11. Palmer the rabbit strip forward like you would do with a feather on a Woolly Bugger, leaving spaces between wraps where the dubbing is exposed. You may need a couple of wraps at the head to get a nice full body.
  12. Tie off the rabbit, and trip excess. Pick out the flashy dubbing so that it shows through the rabbit. This gives the fly a nice look in the water and some additional fullness.
  13. Add more flash by adding a clump of Angel Hair on top. Tie it in midway on the strands.
  14. Fold the strands back and tie them down. Whip finish the fly.
  15. Poke the trailer hook through the rabbit tail or tie it down. This step may not be necessary. The guys had no trouble hooking fish in Argentina with the string hanging free. They were stripping the flies from a boat. Also, the string hangs free on flies that you would swing, like steelhead leeches.
  16. Finished fly with head cement. Break of the front hook at the bend if you wish. The fly shown is about 5 inches long. The ruler is behind it and perspective is skewed. I have tied these up to 8 inches long for bull trout. Pike will likely eat the shit out of these.
  17. Other versions are possible. The sky is the limit. They work as long as the fish aren't scared of a huge fly. This fly is really shitty to cast.
    1. 14lb brown

Matt Klara is a great all-round fly fisher, from chasing Montana browns to Bahamas bonefish, an innovative tyer who casts with his mouth open, he bought himself a camo hat last year and now mistakenly believes he's invisible. He currently resides in Portland, Oregon.

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